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Why NRA wants Congress to vote Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt

NRA officials say the Obama administration's 'Fast and Furious' operation began as part of an antigun agenda – and that lawmakers who don't vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt will be held to account in November elections. 

By Staff writer / June 27, 2012

US Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks to the Boys and Girls Club of America in Washington on June 26, two days before the US House will decide whether to hold him in contempt for refusing to turn over all documents demanded by lawmakers investigating a botched gun-running sting.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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Washington

When the House votes Thursday whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, members will have to weigh whether the circumstances of the long-running "Fast and Furious" scandal warrant putting the nation’s top legal official in contempt for the first time in US history.

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They’re also going to weigh the opinion of the National Rifle Association, which is going to put the vote on its annual scorecard.

Wait, the NRA is going to hold lawmakers' feet to the fire on a contempt of Congress vote? What gives?

Running underneath the to-and-fro allegations over Operation Fast and Furious – which began in 2009 when federal agents allowed guns to “walk” into Mexico in order to trace where they ended up and that came to a head when guns from the scheme were linked to the death of an American border agent – is an entirely different discussion: American gun rights. 

The NRA and Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California, chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, both believe the government has tried to use the Fast and Furious scandal to support arguments for more gun control.

“[T]he Department’s obstruction of congressional oversight of a program that cost lives in support of an anti-gun agenda,” wrote Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, in a letter to the leadership of the House Oversight panel explaining the group's dash into the Fast and Furious fray.

Mr. Cox continues: “Heightening the NRA’s concerns – and requiring our involvement – is the White House’s use of this program to advance its gun control agenda. The White House actively sought information from the operation to support its plan to demand reporting of multiple rifle sales by the nearly 9,000 federally licensed firearm dealers in border states.”

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